Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

Antiquarian Notes, Historical, Genealogical and Social
(Second Series) Inverness-Shire, Parish by Parish
Chapter V. Dores


ITS OLD POSSESSORS AND DIVISIONS.

THE whole of this parish, formerly called Durris, was included in the grant of the Earldom of Moray to Sir Thomas Randolph and, probably forming a Barony, continued in great part with the family until the forfeiture and death of Archibald Douglas, who had married the heiress of the Dunbars. Prior to this period, 1454, no subsidiary grant, except that to Lovat of the barony of Stratherrick, which lay partly in Dores and partly in Boleskine, has been noted. The widowed Countess of Moray lived to a great age, and her brother, Sir Alexander Dunbar of Westfield, hereditary Sheriff of Moray, whom some consider to have been properly heir, received in 1468, inter alia, a large part of the parish thereafter styled the barony of Durris. Sir Alexander Dunbar gave Durris to his fifth son David, who was succeeded by Alexander, and he in turn by Robert, father of David Dunbar, who was proprietor of Durris in 1569. David was succeeded by Mark Dunbar, who in 1608, with consent of Ninian Dunbar his son, sold parts of the barony of Durris, and specially Lopan, Balblair, Drummond, Little Ballichernoch, and Tirchurachan to Sir John Campbell of Calder.

The Mackintoshes had their eye upon Durris as far back as 1492, but a promising agreement then entered into between the Dunbars and Mackintoshes fell to the ground.

Another part of the parish was granted in 1507 to Alexander Ogilvie, styled of Far, by whom it was incorporated into the barony of Cardale. Alexander Ogilvie was succeeded by his son, James Ogilvie, whose title, made up in 1534, was confirmed in 1557. James Ogilvie sold his part of Durris to the Regent Moray, whose grandson, James Earl of Moray, disponed Borlum, Cullairds and Kinchyle to Calder on 31st October, 1608. Calder also acquired the Church lands of Dores, including Daars and others from the then lay holder of the Priory lands of Urquhart. Calder thus became proprietor of all the lands of Dores fronting Loch Ness and the river Ness, from Holme to Inverfarigaig, with the exception of Erchitt and Meikie Ballichernoch, acquired by the Lovats under a title different from the barony of Stratherrick.

A third portion of Dores, consisting of Bunachton, the three Duntelchaigs, and Bochrubin, were included in the grant of the Castle lands to the Earl of Huntly.

The remainder of the parish belonged to Lovat. It may be said that in 1610 the whole parish belonged to Calder and Lord Lovat, with the exception of Bunachton, belonging to the Marquis of Huntly, and the Dunteichaigs and Bachrubin, acquired in 1568 by the Mackintoshes in part assythment for the murder of William Mackintosh of Mackintosh by Huntly in 1550. Feuing on the part of Calder proceeded rapidly, chiefly with the Clan Chattan. In 1610, William Mackintosh, second son of Lachlan Mor Mackintosh of Mackintosh, feued Borlum ; and in the same year Angus Macphail vie Phoil vie Gillies Macbean feued Kinchyle and, in 1614, the Church lands of Daars and others. Alexander Mackintosh, son of Kellachie, feued Aldourie, including Balblair and Drummond. Alexander Mackintosh of the Kellachie family feued one half of Holme within the parish of Inverness; Kellachie feued Dalmigavie; and Dunmaglass was feued by Ferquhar vie Allister. All these grants flowed from Calder, so that the influence of the Clan Chattan in the parishes of Inverness, Dores, Dunlichity and Dalarossie, practically at one and the same period, was greatly extended. The Frasers also flourished in Dares, Farraline, Balnain, Gortuleg, Leadclune, Errogie, and others starting up—good shoots of active frame and warlike spirit.

The new road formed by General Wade from Inverness to Fort-Augustus opened up Strath Dores greatly. The old road for wheel traffic stopped at Milton of Holme, the main road to the West and South going by Drummond Brae, of old the Gaick Roy, and thence until it divided, one road going by Essich and Achnabat—"Rathadan-Druim;" and the other by Torbreck, passing by the front of the old house. This was found very inconvenient, and Alexander Fraser of Torbreck, whom Bishop Forbes, a frequent guest, styles "honest Phopachie," made the present divergence, starting at the entry of the avenue, and joining the old road, behind the present Torbreck house. Thence the road passed through the woods, emerging at Cullairds, and from thence to Scaniport. At Scaniport the road again divided; one led to the Castle of Borlum, and from thence through the woods of Ballindarroch to Bona Ferry, and from thence past the house of Aldourie, until it came to the Church of Dores; the other road kept the valley, passing by Balnafroig, the house of Kinchyle, Antfield, and Daars, to the Church, where it met with the other road, above mentioned, by Borlum, Bona, and Aldourie. The present road is much shorter, but has the inconvenience of a sharp rise beyond Milton. Another after leaving Scaniport went with a more rapid descent by the Crask of Durris to Alt Duarak.

The parish of Dores has gained a small portion of land at the expense of the parish of Inverness, beyond Milton of Holme. Between the Dores Road and the River Ness there is a pendicle of land, called of old "Easter Dowinsche," now the property of Mr C. Walker of Ness Castle. The original charter describes the land as "that piece of waste land of Easter Dowinsche, a part and pertinent of the lands of Torbreck lying within the castle lands of Inverness," and it is well-known that Torbreck lies within the parish of Inverness. Why the Dunain family did not take possession of it cannot be accounted for, but it is clear they did not, and in 1523 it would seem as if it were vacant. William Mackintosh of Borlum had, as above stated, feued Borlum and Cullairds from Calder in 1610, his North march at the river being "Wester Dowinsche." By charter dated at Inverness, 30th April, 1623, George Earl of Enzie, feued the lands described as above to Borlum, the feu being 35 4d Scots, on the narrative that Barium had paid a price, and the lands were convenient to Wester Dowinsche belonging to him. Infeftment followed on the 24th of June, 1627, one of his witnesses being William Vic Angus Vic Phoil in Kinchyle, and another Barium's son, Robert Mackintosh.

Probably because all Barium's lands, with this small exception, lay in Dares, it came in course of time to be held and considered as part of that parish. Thus instead of the march between the two parishes being as now from a point where a dyke running westward towards the river joins the present Dares road, then follows the road in a northerly direction until the lands of Milltown are met, when the westerly direction towards the river is resumed, the old and real boundary between Inverness and Dares at this point is by superintending and continuing the dyke before referred to straight to the river.

The handsome trees on Dowinsche, the beginning of the fine garden, and of the cottage, afterwards burnt about the year 1837, were all laid down by Mr John Young of the "Inverness Journal," under a lease which inadequately protected his great expenditure. Mr Young was removed and complained with reason of his harsh treatment by the then owner.

There is a fine Druidical circle in a wood a little to the left of the Dores road beyond Scaniport, and before the road to Ballindarroch is reached. It was by the Dores road that Dr Johnson travelled in 1773 from Inverness to the West coast, and it is recorded that Boswell and he halted to examine this circle.

THE MACBEANS OF KINCHYLE.

According to Shaw the first of the Macbeans of Kinchyle, by origin a Macgillonie, came from Lochaber with Eva, the heiress of Clan Chattan, and settled near Inverness. According to the Mackintosh History in the time of Angus, sixth of Mackintosh, "Bean Vic Coil Mar (of whom the Clan Vean had their denomination) lived in Lochaber, and was a faithful servant to Mackintosh against the Red Cumming who possessed Inverlochie and at that time was a professed enemy of Mackintosh ;" and again in the time of the next Mackintosh it is said that " Mulmoire or Myles Vic Bean Vic Coil Mor, and his four sons Paul, Gillies, Myles, and Ferquhar, after they had slain the Red Cumming's steward, and his two servants Paten and Kissen, came to William Mackintosh, seventh of Mackintosh, in Connage in Pettie, where he then dwelt, and for themselves and their posterity took protection and dependence of him and his as their chief." This would have been about 1334, and establishes the Macbeans as one of the oldest branches of the historic Clan Chattan. The Clan Vean suffered severely, it is said, at the battle of Harlaw. There is no authentic deduction however until 1500, when Gillies Macbean may have lived, succeeded by William, he by Paul, and he by Angus in 1609, when we arrive on firm historical ground. In 1609.

I. ANGUS MACBEAN, for himself and his race, signed the Bond of Union amongst the Clan Chattan. There were three other heritors in the county of the name, at Faillie, Tomatin, and Drummond, but all writers who treat of the matter place Kinchyle at the head of the tribe.

Campbell of Calder had only acquired the lands of Kinchyle on 31st October, 1608, yet as early as April, 1609, he is found contracting with Angus Macbean for a feu. By feu contract dated at Auldearn, 18th May, 1610, Sir John Campbell of Calder feus Kinchyle to Angus vic Phail vic William vic Gillies, described as "in Kinchyle," the feu duty being £10 Scots, and with power to Angus to build a miln, and other privileges, one of the witnesses being William Mackintosh of Benchar, afterwards of Borlum, and another, Alexander Campbell, brother-german to Calder. Infeftment duly followed upon the feu charter. By another feu charter Calder feued to Angus Macbean styled "of Kinchyle" the church lands of Durris, called Daars, and others lying within the barony and regality of Urquhart (in Moray) and Sheriffdom of Inverness. The feu was fixed at £6 2s Scots and the charter, dated at Calder 26th May, 1614, was followed by infeftment. Upon 27th May, 1626, having lent the Earl of Enzie two thousand merks, the Earl gave a wadset of the half davoch land of old extent of Bunachton to Angus vic Phail of Kinchyle. Upon the ioth of November, 1631, Angus of Kinchyle with consent of his eldest son, John, entered into an adjustment of marches with his neighbour to the South, Alexander Mackintosh of Aldourie. The transaction was entirely for the benefit of A]dourie, whose house was so close to the burn of Alt Dourak (the march), that when the burn was in spate the house was endangered, and Aldourie desired to cut a new and straight channel a little to the North and further away from his house. Kinchyle, who had but a trifle of frontage to Loch Ness, lying between the above burn and Borlum's lands at Bona, agreed to Aldourie's request, and got in exchange a deal of hill land by Loch Ashie. Angus Macbean was succeeded by his eldest son,

II. JOHN, who did not make up a title to the estates. He had a brother named William, found in 1627. John was succeeded by his son,

III. PAUL, who on 11th May, 1664, received a precept of Clare Constat from Sir Hugh Campbell of Calder, for infeftiñg him as heir of his grandfather Angus, dated at Invermoriston. It would appear that Calder and Glenmoriston were great friends, for in a letter by John Forbes second of Culloden to Calder, dated in August, 1664, Culloden begs of Calder to use his influence to settle the serious differences between Inshes and Glenmoriston. Upon this precept Paul Macbean was infeft, but he seems to have fallen into such great difficulties that he had to resign all the ]ands into the superior's hands, on the narrative of his embarassments, by deed dated 10th of April, 1685. Upon a long preamble of the prior state of possession, Sir Hugh Campbell of Calder feued out the whole lands to "William Macbean in Kinchyle" (who raised money to pay off the old debts), by charter dated 25th November, 1685. The old feu, it will be noticed, was £10 Scots for Kinchyle and £6 2s for the Church lands, but in the charter of 1685 the total feu is a single sum of £20 Scots. lnfeftment followed upon the charter on 19th June, 1686. Among the witnesses were William Mackintosh, son of Donald Mackintosh of Kellachie and also of Aldourie, Angus Macbean, writer in Inverness, and Lachlan Macbean, brother-german to William Macbean. There was also another brother, the well-known Mr Angus Macbean, minister of Inverness. Paul Macbean of Kinchyle, is one of the 28 signatories to the bond by the minor heads of the Clan Chattan to Mackintosh as their chief, dated at Kincairne the 19th November, 1664. This bond has the signatures of John Macpherson of Invereshie, and John Macpherson of Pitmean, the respective heads of the important houses known as Sliochd Gillies vic Ewen, and Sliochd lain vic Ewen.

The propinquity of William Macbean to Paul is not stated by Calder, but there is no doubt they were father and son, for in 1692 William is found styled "younger of Kinchyle," though he had purchased the lands as above mentioned in 1685. The latest date in which I observed Paul's name was in 1691.

The Kinchylés and Borlums at first were great allies as well as neighbours. It has been observed that the first Barium was witness to the first charter to Kinchyle, and when Borlum was first infeft in 1610, Angus Macbean of Kinchyle acted as his Procurator at the taking of infeftment. William the third Barium and Paul the third Kinchyic fell out greatly, however, about their marches and the right of casting peats, and the matter on one occasion was settled by the sword at considerable loss to both parties. The fight took place at Tom-na-miol-choin, or the Greyhound's hillock, on the borders of Keanpoul and Easter Kinchyle.

IV. WILLIAM married, contract dated 23rd December, 1688, Jean, second daughter of Donald Mackintosh of Keilachie, who was also proprietor of Aldourie, which he sold to his son-in-law, John Barbour, and by her he had at least two sons, Eneas or Angus and Gillies. The Farr Collections bear that Jean Macbean was grandmother of the first Charles Grant, and that "the Macdonalds of Dalness are of the Macbeans of Kinchyle." William was succeeded by his eldest son,

V. ENEAS, who in 1711 married Isobel, eldest daughter of Roderick Mackenzie of Rcdcastle, whose tocher was 5000 rnerks. No contract was entered into prior to the marriage, and the defect was remedied by a post nuptial contract between the parties dated 9th and 10th January, 1718. From its terms there would appear to have been "a Catholic debt" of ten thousand merks upon Kinchyle, then standing in name of John Barbour of Aldourie, and the lady's tocher was to he imputed in part payment of this debt. Borlum had lent old Kinchyle 2000 merks in 1708; and Mackintosh of Culclachy 5000 merks to William and Eneas Macbean in 1718. Among the stipulations in the contract was one that if Isobel Mackenzie survived her husband, she had right to stay at the mansion house.

VI. GILLIES, who was one of the witnesses to his brother's post nuptial marriage contract in 1718. I find him described as "in Bunachton," and latterly "in Dalmagerry," but not at any time either "at or of Kinchyle." Gillies was a man of great note and strength, and was appointed Major of the Clan Chattan Regiment in 1745. He greatly distinguished himself at Culloden. Lord Archibald Campbell, in his recent work, "Notes on Swords from the Battlefield of Culloden," does Kinchyle full justice, but makes a woful hash of his name. "What men could do in the days of Culloden is well illustrated, and can be judged from the following. Guile Mac Bean, perceiving the Campbells had thrown down a wall and were attacking the Highland army in flank, placed himself opposite the breach formed, and killed fourteen men before he himself fell leaving an undying name for heroism." In the Farr Collections, it is said that Major Gillies Macbean was killed at the first dyke vest from the field. He married one of the Misses Macpherson of Lonnie in Petty, and was succeeded by his son,

VII. DONALD, a minor. In 1750 the estate was in the hands of creditors, and a process of judicial sale at the instance of William Macgillivray of Dunmaglass and Hugh Fraser of Bochrubin was instituted. Donald Macbean was afraid to serve heir, and an attempt to make up a title by Trust Bond and adjudication in favour of Lieutenant Alexander Macbean, sometime of the Regiment of Foot commanded by Lord John Murray, a cousin of Donald's, failed. A few years later, when General Simon Fraser of Lovät was raising his first regiment, Donald Macbean was appointed Lieutenant, and on the narrative that he was ordered abroad, Lieutenant Donald granted on the 5th of April, 1757, a commission to William Macbean, Attorney at Law, London, and Captain Lieutenant Forbes Macbean of the Royal Artillery, Sons of the late Rev. Alexander Macbean of Inverness, Evan and Donald Macbean, writers in Inverness, and Robert Macpherson tacksman of Lonnie, his uncle, to manage his affairs. Donald was served heir to his uncle Eneas, on the 16th October, 1759, describing himself as eldest son of Gillies Macbean, sometime tacksman of Dalmagarry, second lawful son of William Macbean of Kinchyle. A charter by Pryse Campbell, younger of Calder, was granted on the 14th January, 1760, and the commissioners sold the estates to Simon Fraser, sometime commissary at Gibraltar, for £2200 sterling, with entry at Whitsunday, 1760. Donald Macbean retired from the army, and, described as "late Captain of the 10th Foot," married Anne, second daughter of James Mackintosh, commonly described as of Wood End, grandfather of Sir James Mackintosh of Kellachie. Captain and Mrs Macbean are found in 1780 living at Teary, near Forres, the last of the Macbeans of Kinchyle who possessed that property. The distinguished military race of "Forbes Macbeans," now in the third generation, descended from the Rev. Alexander Macbean, of Inverness, are cadets of Kinchyle, if not the representatives of the family.

The old mansion family house was a ruin in 1791, but had some fine old trees about it, alas removed by an incoming tenant. Simon Fraser the proprietor, writes under date of 10th December in that year from London" I was exceedingly angry at finding the fine trees round the old ruins of Kinchyle House cut down."

The modern mansion is pleasantly situated, and to the late Mr Alexander Burnett is, I believe, due the planting so judiciously of the clumps of larch, which now give the place so much shelter and adornment.

PRESENT AND PAST POPULATION OF THE PARISH.

Dores is a pretty and fertile parish, and at one time - contained a large population. It has been dwindling for many years, and poor rates have been much in excess of the average. Any one may take up the Valuation Roll for the year ending Whitsunday, 1894, and see for himself how few tenants are on the larger estates. I will take Borlum as my text, not including Kinchyle. The Mackintoshes parted with Borlum at Whitsunday, 1759, and however unfortunate and thriftless themselves, they were not evictors. A judicial rental was taken by the purchaser on 20th October, 1759, when it was found that there were the following tenants. I need not give their rents, but may observe that in most cases they were instantly and largely increased—as, for instance, the Mains from 44 bolls and 132 merks to 60 boils and 202 merks. In the Mains of Borlum—Robert Maclean, with sub-tenants William Fraser, Angus Macbean, William Noble, Malcolm Mackenzie, John Macdonald, and Alexander Maclean. Alexander Maclean was son of Dochgarroch and father of Robert, and is described as at Ach-a-Chajsteal of Borlum—in all in the Mains 7 heads of families. Nether Cuilairds--Alexander Mactavish ; Upper Cullairds—Donald Maclean and James Yeaman; Knockfrangaich—Alexander Macdonald and William Mackinnon; Midtown—William McWillie and Donald Clark; Balroick of Qldtown—William Macbean Oldtown—Thomas Fraser; Scaniport—William and Angus Mackintosh; Laggan - Andrew Forbes; DruiminureAngusMacdonald; Dowinische or Milltown of Borlum —William Gordon, corn and waulk miller; BallindarrochJohn Mackintosh; Bona—John Maclennan, in all 23 tenants. Crofters, 1st, in and about Bona, Donald Matheson, John Mackay, Sween Macqueen, ferryman, Neil Cameron, and Mary Macdonald or Maclennan; and 2nd, in the Hill in Feabuie four crofters, whose names seemed not worth mentioning, or that of 9 crofters and mailers, the gross total being 32 heads of families, or say 150 to 200 souls.

The following list is highly instructive. By the Act 38, George III., Chapter 27th, a return was ordered of all the men between 15 and 6o, such was the pressure for soldiers. At Scaniport on 26th May, 1798, the estate representative, and Captain Thomas Fraser, of the Leadclune family, late of the 78th, Justice of the Peace, then tenant of the Mains of Borlum, made a return for Borlum of those fit to carry arms or act as drivers. Mains of Ness Castle—Captain Thomas Fraser, Donald Falconer, John Macbean, James Mackintosh, Malcolm Macbean, arms, Andrew Macpherson, cart driver—in all, 6; Ballindarroch—Francis Macbean, John Macdonald, Alexander Macdonald, all arms, 3; Scaniport—Donald Urquhart, Duncan Fraser, James Sween, William Chisholm, Donald Macbean, William Rose, arms; Alexander Urquhart, cattle driver—in all, 7; Laggan—John Macdonald, George Fraser —both arms, 2; Milltown—John Dunbar—arms, 1; Lower Cullaird—John Mackintosh, Lachlan Macqueen, Alexander Macqueen—all arms, 3; Upper Cullaird—John Rose, Donald Grant, cattle drivers; John Fraser, William Grant, arms—in all 4; Knockfrangaich—Andrew Macgillivray, arms, 1; Balnieanach—William Falconer, Alexander Macgillivray, arms, Donald Mackenzie, cattle driver—in all, 3; Tominteomar—Donald Macdonald, arms, 1; Balnaroig - William Macbean, Alexander Fraser, James Fraser, Robert Fraser, Angus Macbean, arms, John Macbean, James Fraser, John Fraser, cattle drivers —8 in all; Bona—Thomas Wilson, Robert Fraser, arms, David Sween, pioneer-3 in all; Hill—John Fraser, Donald Fraser, John Mac Omie, Alexander Mac Omie, William Macgillivray, arms-6. Total arms, 38. Drivers, etc., 9. "Memorandum. The estate commands three roads of communication between the East and West sea, has encampment grounds to any extent, and abounds with material for erecting field fortifications for offence or defence, particularly Fascines, Hurdles, Gabions, and Epaulment Frames, etc."

The church manse and churchyard of Dores are pleasantly situated, with beautiful surroundings. An examination of the churchyard shows how predominating was the name of Macbean. The parish has given birth to many eminent men—the first Charles Grant and Sir James Mackintosh, at Aldourie; the well-known family of Gortuleg, in whose old house Prince Charles rested after his flight from Culloden; Brigadier-General Simon Fraser, who fell at Saratoga, and many others.

A STIRRING RUNAWAY ROMANCE.

In connection with Bona and the inn kept by the Maclennan family a bit of romance may be narrated. Some time before the close of the last century several Macphersons who had been dispossessed in Badenoch came to Boleskine Parish, and amongst others Lieutenant Evan Macpherson of the Ovie family took Cullachy. Mr Alexander Macpherson, writer, who had been deprived of his office of Procurator-Fiscal went to Faicharn of Glengarry. He was a son of Bailie Donald Macpherson senior, of Inverness, who died at Drumgalvie in the parish of Kingussie in the month of January 1802 aged 77, and who had fought for Prince Charles in his youth. The two Macphersons, who were nearly connected, were close allies and both impecunious. The well-known and respected messenger-at-arms, John Mackay at Innis-na-cardoch, was entrusted with a caption against the gallant officer. Escape, whether from an officer or from prison entailed responsibility for the debt, and Mr Mackay was a responsible man. From his own story, it would appear that Mackay, upon the instructions of Alexander Stewart, writer in Edinburgh, did

"Upon the 20th day of March, 1795, by virtue of letters of caption dated and signeted the 24th day of December, 1793, raised at the instance of John Archibald, and William Duff, children of the deceased Major Alexander Duff, late of the 89th Regiment of Foot, and Robert Donaldson, writer to the Signet, their curator, against Lieutenant Evan Macpherson, late of the 16th Regiment of Foot, and others therein named and designed for not making payment to the said complainers of the principal sum of £1000 sterling, £200 like money of liquidate or penalty incurred through failure, and the legal interest of said principal sum from and since the 11th of November, 1792, all contained in and due by the Bond therein narrated, bearing date the 21st and 22nd days of November, 1791, and payable against the term of Whitsunday then next to come, he, John Mackay, messenger-at-arms, passed to the dwelling- house of Thomas Clark, vintner, at Fort-Augustus, having and holding iii my hands the said letters of caption, with my blazon displayed on my breast, in His Majesty's name and authority, I lawfully apprehended him the said Lieutenant Evan Macpherson my prisoner, by touching him on the shoulder with my wand of peace, and required him to obey the said letters and go along with me as a prisoner, which apprehending the said Lieutenant Evan Macpherson received with the greatest satisfaction and pleasure, and told me that it was nothing but what he looked for and that it was the only thing that detained him so long in the country so as to give every manner of satisfaction to his creditors, and added that he was very sorry they should have put themselves to any expense by employing a messenger because he would go to jail at the desire of any single creditor, and that he wished they had ordered him to jail earlier. I hired a boat and hands to bring us to Bona at Lochend, and a little before eight o'clock we set sail and arrived at Bona foresaid about one o'clock next morning, when we sat up warming ourselves till after two o'clock of said morning, when the said Lieutenant Evan Macpherson had occasion to go to the door, and of his own accord called my servant along with him, and returning both in the course of a few minutes, but while the said Lieutenant Evan Macpherson was out, his genteel behaviour was remarked and spoken of by the boatmen and several other passengers then present, setting forth that his learning and education afforded him the knowledge of the laws of his country and made him submissive thereto. This genteel behaviour, together with the calm resignation to which he appeared from the time I apprehended him, and Mrs Macpherson expressing herself in a similar manner, made me satisfied in my own mind that even should I grant him a Parole of Honour that he would deliver himself in jail. About half-past two o'clock of the morning foresaid, he the said Lieutenant Evan Macpherson and I went both to the said bed, putting off our coats and shoes only. From the circumstances above expressed I thought it very unnecessary to order a guard upon the door. He soon fell sound asleep, and in a short time thereafter I also fell asleep. About half-past three o'clock of said morning he got out of bed and made his escape to the thicket of oak wood which is quite close to the house in which we slept. I immediately pursued after him, and made every search that I thought might be of service; but all in vain, as he had some miles of wood on every side."

Mackay says that it was not easy to describe his feelings on this occasion, or the unhappy and distressed state into which this conduct of Lieutenant Macpherson threw him. He was led from motives of humanity to treat him with a degree of lenity which, though upon similar occasions he had shown to persons he considered less worthy to be entrusted, where honour and character were at stake, he had never any reason to repent. The apparent composure of Lieutenant Macpherson, and the implicit resignation to his fate which he evinced, with the conduct of his wife and his other friends, satisfied him that he had no danger to fear; and he must indeed have had more than human foresight upon whom the artful design and duplicity of his conduct from the time of his apprehension until he effected his escape would not have imposed in some degree.

The messenger used every exertion to retake the fugitive. For that purpose he engaged every man he could trust for fifty miles around him, and offered very high rewards for success. He laid people in wait upon all the avenues he suspected, and he himself along with a strong party traversed night and day the country from Inverness to Fort-William, but to no purpose. All his efforts were unsuccessful, nor could he possibly obtain the least information as to Lieutenant Macpherson's course. By this time it was intimated that some of his creditors and their commissioners had expressed it as their opinion that Mackay had made himself and his cautioners liable in the debt upon the diligence on which Lieutenant Macpherson was apprehended. Though no circumstance could occur which could increase his distress or add to the exertion which Mackay made to remedy his misfortune, it could not but affect him that a conduct should be imputed to him which those acquainted with him knew he was incapable of. Writing to a messenger in Elgin, he says under date 6th April, 1795—

"This infamous rascal is a Lieutenant in the 100th Regiment, namely the Marquis of Huntly's, a detachment of which is now lying in Fort-George waiting transports to bring them to Gibraltar, and the transports is daily expected there, but to guard this post there is a messenger employed at Inverness, but my dread is that he will attempt to get on board from Garmouth or some other place upon that coast, but your plan will be to get yourself informed if he is about Gordon Castle, or perhaps about Mr Tod, the factor's, and the only method of securing this plan is to find out the day the transports sets off, and guard the coast, that is to say if you cannot procure information otherwise."

Not being able to procure any intelligence of Macpherson in the North, Mackay suspected that he might have formed a plan of leaving the country entirely. Impressed with this opinion, he set out with an intention of going to London, and if necessary to follow him to Gibraltar, where his regiment lay, or to any other part of the world he could trace him to, determined that he would rescue himself from every reflection at the hands of his employers by lodging the fugitive in jail or perish in the attempt. In prosecution of this intention Mackay arrived in Edinburgh on the 13th of April, without obtaining any account whatever of Lieutenant Macpherson, and while he was preparing advertisements for the newspapers describing the runaway and offering very large rewards for leading to his discovery, and providing himself with the necessary warrants and information to take with him to London, he discovered and apprehended him in the Abbey of Holyrood House, and immediately lodged him in Edinburgh Jail, having been advised that the Sanctuary could afford him no protection, having been before legally made prisoner, as stated in the execution above set forth.

Macpherson's creditors were satisfied that Mackay had done his duty, but being themselves heavy sufferers they were unable to reimburse him for his great outlay. His conduct to Mackay was shabby while of no use to himself, for being lawfully apprehended the Abbey was no Sanctuary, and he could have been brought back even from Gibraltar. One or two curious incidents in Mr Mackay's eventful career will be given later on under Fort-Augustus in the combined Parishes of Boleskine and Abertarff.


Return to Book Contents Page

 


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus

Quantcast